Science in the time of Nero

Course Dates: 22/06/21
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Tutors: 
We examine the science of the Roman empire through the work of Seneca (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE) and Pliny
(23/24 CE – 79 CE) who between them describe the Roman understanding of biology, chemistry and
physics, touching upon subjects such as botany, meteors, mining, rainbows, the nature of air, forms of
water, and “mock suns”.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Download
Book your place
In stock
SKU
183980
Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £7.00

Course Code: HS268

Tue, eve, 22 Jun - 22 Jun '21

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

We examine the science of the Roman empire through the work of Seneca (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE) and Pliny
(23/24 CE – 79 CE) who between them describe the Roman understanding of biology, chemistry and
physics, touching upon subjects such as botany, meteors, mining, rainbows, the nature of air, forms of
water, and “mock suns”.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Nero was the fifth emperor of Rome, living from 37 CE to 68 CE. Whilst Nero’s reign is primarily
remembered for various politically motivated murders, including that of his own mother, and famously for
the claim that he fiddled whilst Rome burned in 64 CE, during his reign the Roman empire was
consolidated and numerous advances in science occurred. In this course we will focus on the science of
the Roman Empire through an examination of works written by Pliny the Elder and Seneca who provide
us with a first-hand account of scientific understanding in the first century of what we now call the
Christian era. We will see that both Pliny and Seneca cover a wide variety of topics in science and we will
assess the level of understanding evinced in their accounts. We will also consider why so few accounts of
science survive from this period.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify those areas of science which were of particular interest to the Romans
- Describe how science was approached in Roman times
- Assess the level of understanding in Roman times of various areas of biology, chemistry and physics
- Understand why there are only a few contemporary accounts of science in the Roman empire and the implications this has for our understanding of science in Roman times.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for beginners and no prior knowledge of the topics which we cover is assumed. Nonetheless, the course should be of interest to everyone, particularly since we are examining an era which is rarely touched upon in accounts of the development of scientific thought.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught online in a number of different ways including presentations with visual examples,
discussions and group work. Work outside class will be optional.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs. If you wish to take notes you will find it useful to have a pen and paper, but
the Powerpoints will be made available online.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HS181 The Physics of time
HS212 Astrophysics: a brief introduction
HS117 The geology beneath British landscapes
HS173 Understanding Einstein's theory of relativity and why it matters.

Gary Retallick

Dr. Gary Retallick got his Phd in Physics at Kings college in London in 2006. His dissertation explored the physics of time, touching upon relativity, field equations, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and metaphysics. Followng a stint within the world of teaching philosophy, Gary now teaches physics and mathematics at both Birkbeck College and the Open University alongside running several physics, chemistry and maths courses at City Lit (incl. Cornish).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.